Scotland has become the first country to offer free sanitary products to women who can’t afford them, in a bid to beat ‘period poverty’.
Over a 1,000 women and girls are expected to benefit from the scheme, which is backed by the Scottish Government.
Community Food Initiatives North East (CFINE) will run the six-month pilot in Aberdeen. If the project is successful it could lead to Scotland becoming the first country in the world to provide free sanitary products to low-income women and girls.
Speaking about the scheme, Equalities Secretary Angela Constance said, “It is unacceptable that any woman or girl in Scotland should be unable to access sanitary products.”
“That is why, as part of our wider aims to eradicate poverty from our country, we are exploring how to make products freely available to low-income groups.”
“The pilot in Aberdeen is a first step to help us understand the barriers women and girls face – and to help us develop a sensitive and dignified solution to making these products easily accessible to those who need them.”
Speaking to the Scotsman, Dave Simmers, chief executive of CFINE, said, “We’ve been aware of this problem for many years after hearing about difficulties from women at our food banks.”
“It’s been quite clear the cost of sanitary products are pricey at the best of times and can be exorbitant for many women who don’t have cash to spare.”
Across the UK, women have been calling for the tax on tampons and pads to be eradicated. While a decision is made over the five per cent VAT on sanitary products, the government announced that the money will go into a Tampon Tax Fund. So far, seventy UK charities and organisation will benefit from £12 million raised from the fund.
In March, Freedom4Girls, also found that girls in the UK were missing school because they can’t afford sanitary products. The company, who usually provide tampons and pads to women in Kenya, are now also providing them to girls in West Yorkshire.